Skateboard trick

Skateboarding trick

A skateboarding trick, or simply a trick is a maneuver performed on a skateboard while skateboarding. Learning and perfecting new tricks is the major goal of many skateboarders, for whom most of the time spent skateboarding is spent on tricks.

Types of tricks

Skateboarding tricks can be grouped into the following five categories:

  • Freestyle tricks involve balancing on some other part of the board than all four wheels, such as two wheels or one wheel, the tail of the board, or the edges on either side. Various ways to flip and manipulate the board in and out of these stances were invented in the earliest years of skateboarding and these form the basis of freestyle or flatground skateboarding.
  • Aerials involve floating in the air while using a hand to hold the board on his or her feet or by keeping constant and careful pressure on the board with the feet to keep it from floating away. This class of tricks was first popularized when Tony Alva became famous for his Frontside Airs in empty swimming pools in the late 1970s and has expanded to include the bulk of skateboarding tricks to this day, including the Ollie and all of its variations.
  • Flip tricks are a subset of aerials which are all based on the Ollie. The first such trick was the Kickflip. You can spin the board around many different axis, and even combine several rotations in to one trick. These tricks are arguably most popular among street skateboarding purists, although skaters with other styles perform them as well.
  • Slides and Grinds involve getting the board up on some type of ledge, rail, or coping and sliding or grinding along the board or trucks, respectively. When it is primarily the board which is contacting the edge, it's called a slide; when it's the truck, it is a grind. Grinding and sliding skateboards started with sliding the board on parking blocks and curbs, then extended to using the coping on swimming pools, then stairway handrails, and has now been expanded to include almost every possible type of edge.
  • Lip tricks are done on the coping of a pool or skateboard ramp. Most grinds can be done on the coping of a ramp or pool as well, but there are some coping tricks which require the momentum and vertical attitude that can only be attained on a transitioned riding surface. These include Inverts and their variations as well as some dedicated air-to-lip combinations.

Many types of tricks can be combined together, and finding new combinations and variations is often stated as the reason that skateboarding keeps its appeal amongst its followers.

Competitive skateboarding is primarily judged on the difficulty and success of such tricks.

Naming conventions

As with all recreational activities, skateboarding has its own vernacular and slang. Most of the names of standard tricks were made up by the person that invented them, and to some extent they reflect what the person was thinking about the trick at the time. The names range from descriptive (kickflip) to silly (Ho-Ho plant) to intentionally provocative (shove-it, sex change). The earliest tricks were often named after the person that invented them (Andrecht after Dave Andrecht; Ollie after Alan "Ollie" Gelfand; Elguerial after Eddie Elguera). The origins of some trick names are obscure, either because the inventor didn't name the trick or intentionally gave it an obtuse meaning based on an inside joke that was never shared. Some tricks have more than one name, likely because several people independently invented the same trick around the same time and gave it different names, or because the original name was lost.

Most newer tricks are invented by combining existing tricks together rather than creating something completely new, and the naming reflects that. For example, when Danny Way became the first to do a Kickflip into an Indy, he simply called it a Kickflip Indy rather than come up with a completely new name. Most other combinations of tricks follow suit, though occasionally very complicated tricks prove to be too much of a mouthful and are thus given a unique name. For example, Andy MacDonald made up a trick that could be accurately called a Nollie Heelflip Varial Body Varial Slob Air, but he called it a Salad Shooter.

Similarly, when a new trick is invented by changing an element of existing trick rather than adding to it, skaters often simply put the names together. For example, Tony Hawk did the first 720 from fakie grabbing Mute, but he didn't bother to use the terms "fakie" or "Mute". He simply called it a 720. However, when he tried something new by grabbing with the other hand, he called it an Indy 720 because the trick combined the elements of an Indy and a 720 together, changing the original meaning of 720 in the process. This is a source of confusion among skateboarders, as it often becomes difficult to remember which variation of a trick was done first and exactly how it was performed.

Another source of debate is the varying styles of performance of a trick and whether variations of style warrant giving a trick a new name. Skaters can be seen engaging in heated debates on Internet forums over what exactly constitutes giving a certain trick a certain name, or whether it should be called something else entirely. Other skaters simply don't care, and ignore such debates.

In any event, skateboarding has a large dictionary of terms, and there is no one place to find them all defined accurately. As stated above, the definitions are often subjective. For new skateboarders, the large amount of new words to learn can be daunting, and it can be argued that this is part of a new skateboarder's initiation into skateboarding's unique culture.


''Main article: footedness

In modern skateboarding there are two types of stances; one of which is naturally adopted by the skater. These two stances are "goofy" and "regular". Goofy refers to standing on the board with the right foot forwards, while regular refers to standing on the board with the left foot forwards.

These stances have an inverse relationship in the direction of both the flip, and the spin, with which tricks are performed. It is important to note that tricks are named differently depending on the stance of the skater. As mentioned above, an inverse of a trick in "goofy" would be the same as the trick done in the "regular" stance.

When a skater skates in the opposite stance to which they are naturally adapted, this is called "switch stance" or more simply "switch". This should not be confused with "Fakie", which refers to riding the board in the skater's natural stance while rolling backwards, or to a trick done while the skater is rolling backwards.

The term "Nollie" originally referred to an Ollie done by popping off the nose of the board rather than the tail (Nose + Ollie = Nollie). The term has been expanded to describe any trick based on the Nollie, such as the Nollie Kickflip, Backside Nollie 180, et cetera.

The term "mongo" refers to a method of pushing in which a skater keeps their back foot on the board while pushing with their front foot. It is considered by some to be bad form, but is nevertheless widely practiced.

The terminology of "frontside" or "backside"(also referred to as "blindside") is vitally important when discussing skateboarding maneuvers in direct relation the position of attack on any given obstacle that a skateboarder is negotiating. Frontside is related to having your front side facing (i.e. face, chest, etc.) towards the lip, rail, or curb that the trick is being performed on. Backside denotes the inverse of frontside, whereas the back of the body is facing the object the trick is being performed on.

There are many other subtle nuances within the skateboarding trick terminology that may be combined with others (the alley-oop, the shuffle, the revert, etc.) that are performed when either entering or exiting (or both) a skateboard trick.

External links


  • Brooke, Michael (1999). Concrete Wave: The History Of Skateboarding. ISBN 1-894020-54-5.

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